Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Our Blog Has Moved!

Good morning, the Chelmsford Property Blog has now moved, we have updated it and improved it, making it more user friendly for our readers. 

We are still posting the same useful information and updates about the Chelmsford Property Market, feel free to check it out on the link below...


Wednesday, 12 October 2016

This blog has a new home!

Welcome to The Chelmsford Property Blog - via BlogSpot.

My blog has a new home so please check out www.chelmsfordpropertyblog.co.uk for the same property stories.


See you there.

Steve, Emma and Steven
Authors of The Chelmsford Property Blog

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Why Let Your Property To A Pet Owner?

Almost half the UK population own a pet, yet many landlords are reluctant to accept pets! According to research by The Dogs Trust, some 78% of pet owners reported that they had experienced difficulty finding rented accommodation that would accept pets.

However, if you are a landlord, agreeing to accept pets can help you maximise your return on investment for the following reasons:

·         Your pool of prospective tenants is almost doubled!
·         You are therefore likely to let your property quickly and avoid void periods
·         Pet owners will often pay a larger deposit or sizeable “pet premium” due to the scarcity of properties that accept pets
·         Pet owners are more likely to stay longer in a property and accept they may need to cover additional cleaning costs when they leave.

An blanket ban on pet ownership by tenants is actually regarded as an “unfair term” by the OFT, and there is no reason why most pets cannot be accommodated within the existing terms of the lease (which already provides for “no damage”). Obviously goldfish, budgies and hamsters are unlikely to cause a problem, but landlords can worry about cats and dogs.

Cat-owning tenants should confirm that a “scratching post” will be provided. The inventory clerk should also pay particular attention to scratchable areas. Not all dogs moult, and not all bark. Indeed, having a dog that barks occasionally can increase security in the area.

A written reference from a previous landlord is probably a good idea, and you may wish to meet the pet first – it will then be up to you as to whether you wish to accept them.

We have a separate “Pet Policy” that accompanies our lease documents where required to help you maximise your return on your investment, whilst protecting your property. Please let us know if you would like further details.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Only 29% of Chelmsford Rented Property have Children living in them.

A few weeks ago I was asked a fascinating question by a local Councillor who, after reading the Chelmsford Property Blog, emailed me and asked me – “Are Chelmsford Landlords meeting the Challenges of tenanted families bringing up their families in Chelmsford?”

What interesting question to be asked.

Irrespective of whether you are tenant or a homeowner, to bring up a family, the most important factors are security and stability in the home. A great bellwether of that security and stability in a rented property is whether tenants are constantly being evicted. Many tenancies last just six months with families at risk of being thrown out after that with just two months’ notice for no reason.

Some “left leaning Politian’s” keep saying we need to deal with the terrible insecurity of Britain’s private rental market by creating longer tenancies of 3 or 5 years instead of the current six months. However, the numbers seem to be telling a different story. The average length of residence in private rental homes has risen in the last 5 years from 3.7 years to 4 years (a growth of 8.1%), which in turn has directly affected the number of renters who have children. In fact, the proportion of private rented property that have dependent children in them, has gone from 29.1% in 2003 to 37.4% today.

Looking specifically at Chelmsford compared to the National figures, of the 6,597 private rental homes in Chelmsford, 1,916 of these have dependent children in them (or 29%), which is interestingly (although expected) below the National average of already stated 37.4%.

Even more fascinating are the other tenure types in Chelmsford…

·         33.7% of Social (Council) Housing in Chelmsford have dependent children
·         45% of Chelmsford Owner Occupiers (with a Mortgage) have dependent children
·         8.2% of Owner Occupiers (without a Mortgage) have dependent children

Although, when we look at the length of time these other tenure types have, whilst the average length of a tenancy for the private rented sector is 4 years, it is 11.4 years in social (council) housing, 24.1 years for home owners without a mortgage and 10.4 years of homeowners with mortgages.

Anecdotally I have always known this, but this just proves landlords do not spend their time seeking opportunities to evict a tenant as the average length of tenancy has steadily increased. This noteworthy 8.1% increase in the average length of time tenants stay in a private rented property over the last 5 years, shows tenants are happy to stay longer and start families.

So, as landlords are already meeting tenants’ wants and needs when it comes to the length of tenancy, I find it strange some politicians are calling for fixed term 3 and 5 year tenancies. Such heavy handed regulation could stop landlords renting their property out in the first place, cutting off the supply of much needed rental property, meaning tenants would suffer as rents went up. Also, if such legislation was brought in, tenants would loose their ‘Get Out of Jail card’, as under current rules, they can leave at anytime with one months notice not the three or six month tenant notice suggested by some commenters.  

Finally, there is an extra piece of good news for Chelmsford tenants. The English Housing Survey notes that those living in private rented housing for a long periods of time generally paid less rent than those who chopped and changed.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

“Why Sales Fail”

Many estate agencies simply act as a broking service that matches people to property. However, we are acutely aware that there is far more to successful selling than this alone. Indeed, about a third of property sales in this country fail to reach completion, for a number of reasons.  

One of the main reasons is that a buyer simply gets cold feet and withdraws as a result of “buyer remorse”. This is a familiar phenomenon to estate agents and occurs when a buyer feels overwhelmed by the apparent enormity of the decision to buy and takes the more comfortable “low-risk” option and does nothing.

Perhaps the buyer is offered another property which they prefer, or something else comes on the market that makes the price they have offered on your home look expensive.

Your buyer may lose their job, or get a promotion. They might decide to get married or divorced; they might inherit or win a fortune, or their business may be experiencing difficulties. They could even die!

Whilst these types of issues are generally unavoidable and naturally have a profound effect on people’s decisions, the main problem concerns timing. Because offers in this country are not binding until exchange of contracts, the longer the time between offer and exchange, the greater the opportunity there is for the buyer or seller to decide to withdraw.

We go to great lengths to help you move, and work tirelessly to reduce this window of opportunity. That’s why we allocate a dedicated sales progressor to every transaction, whose job it is to facilitate a fast exchange of contracts. This will include a focus on the buyer qualification process (if this has not already been done), although most time will be spent in helping other estate agents and solicitors involved in linked property sales as a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Our aim is that your link should be the strongest.   

Thursday, 29 September 2016

11,100 People Live In Every Square Mile Of Chelmsford – Is Chelmsford Over Crowded?

Chelmsford is already in the clutches of a population crisis that has now started to affect the quality of life of those living in Chelmsford. There are simply not enough homes in Chelmsford to house the greater number of people wanting to live in the city. The burden on public services is almost at breaking point with many parents unable to send their child to their first choice of primary or secondary school and the chances of getting a decent Dentist or GP Doctor Surgery next to nil.

Well that’s what the papers would say.. but let’s look at real numbers, and in particular my specialist subject of Chelmsford Property, with the housing issue in Chelmsford. To start with, the UK has roughly 1,065 people per square mile – the second highest in Europe. The total area of Chelmsford itself is 9.926 square miles and there are 110,500 Chelmsford residents, meaning …

11,100 people live in each square mile of Chelmsford, it’s no wonder we appear to be bursting at the seams!

… but yet again, newspapers, politicians and property market bloggers quote big numbers to sell more newspapers, get elected or get people to read their blog (I recognise the irony!). A square mile is enormous, so the numbers look correspondingly large (and headline grabbing). Most people reading this will know what an ‘acre’ is, but those younger readers who don’t, it is an imperial unit of measurement for land and it is approximately 63 meters square.

In Chelmsford, only 15.86 people live in every acre of Chelmsford … not as headline grabbing, but a lot closer to home and relative to everyday life, and if I am being honest, a figure that doesn’t seem that bad.

Yet, the issue at hand is, we need more homes building. In 2007, Tony Blair set a target that 240,000 homes a year needed to be built to keep up with the population growth, whilst the Tory’s new target since 2010 was a more modest 200,000 a year. However, since 2010, as a country, we have only been building between 140,000 and 150,000 houses a year. So where are we going to build these homes .. because we have no space! Or do we?

Well, let me tell you this fascinating piece of information I found out recently in an official Government report. Looking specifically at England (as it is the most densely populated country of the Union), all the 20 million English homes cover only 1.1% of its land mass. That is not a typo, only one point one per cent (1.1%) of land in England is covered by residential property. In more detail, of all the land in the Country -

·         Residential Houses and Flats 1.1%
·         Gardens 4.3%
·         Shops and Offices 0.7%
·         Highways (Roads and Paths) 2.3%
·         Railways 0.1%
·         Water (Rivers /Reservoirs) 2.6%
·         Industry, Military and other uses 1.4%

.. leaving 88.5% as Open Countryside (and if you think about it, add to that the gardens, which are green spaces, and the country is 92.8% greenspace)

As a country, we have plenty of space to build more homes for the younger generation and the five million more homes needed in the next 20 years would use only 0.25% of the country’s land. Now I am not advocating building massive housing estates and 20 storey concrete and glass behemoth apartment blocks next to local beauty spots such as Hyde Hall or Hylands Park, but with some clever planning and joined up thinking, we really do need to think outside the box when it comes to how we are going to build and house our children and our children’s children in the coming 50 years in Chelmsford. If anyone has their own ideas, I would love to hear from you.

In the meantime, if you would like to read other articles about Chelmsford Property Market, please visit the Chelmsford Property Market Blog www.chelmsfordpropertyblog.co.uk